By Max Bowenfirstname.lastname@example.org
The trials and tribulation of the competitive spelling bee—set to memorable musical numbers—will be on stage this weekend at North Attleborough High School.
The school’s theater company is busy at rehearsals for the well-known “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” with shows happening this Friday and Saturday. For some of the students, it’s their first musical in a few years, when COVID-19 put a stop to such events.
Student Jasper Hustler said the theater company was supposed to do “The Wedding Singer,” but the pandemic put that plan on hold. Hustler said “Putnam County” has been a great show to work on, offering the chance to collaborate with the school’s artistic departments.
“It’s been a group effort,” said Hustler on Wednesday, prior to rehearsal.
The “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” is a musical comedy about a fictional spelling bee set in a Putnam Valley Middle School. Six quirky adolescents share their lives with the audience while competing in the Bee, which is run by three equally quirky grown-ups. Terrence Fevrier joked that when his family watched part of the show, they thought the school was hosting an actual spelling bee.
Nicole Donato (in the role of Rona) said mastering the musical aspect was challenging, and at times the students had to re-learn certain techniques, such as keeping their singing voices in shape.
“You need to run around and stay in the moment,” she said.
Kaitlyn DiSalvio plays Olive, a tentative newcomer with a lonely childhood—so lonely, in fact, that her main source of companionship was a dictionary. She said the character fits her well, particularly in being shy. It’s her first musical at NAHS, and in preparation she’s been listening to the soundtrack on repeat.
“A lot of us are in choir, so we sing together,” she said.
Alexandra Nikou agreed that the process of getting ready for the show has brought the cast together.
“We became friends,” she said. “It happens in theater.”
Ellie Brouillard is a longtime fan of musical theater, but this will be the first time she’s been part of the show. Her character, Marcy Park, is an over-achiever who thinks she’s the best of the contestants, though she tries to hide it. She added that she loves to sing, but hasn’t done anything with it before now.
“I want to grow that and be able to pursue that,” she said of music. “I love it and wanted to give it a shot.”
The spring musical will take place on Friday, April 29, and Saturday, April 30, at 7 p.m. Call 508-643-2115 for more information.